not using the proper oil (5W-20 Synth) not using a good filter ( motorcraft, Purolator, Wix, NAPA Gold) not changing the oil often enough (never more than 5K interval IMHO) and a crappy design by Ford.
I guess Fram doesn't make good oil filters? I must humbly disagree with that opinion.
I test engines for a living, I used to work for one of the "big 3", but have sense moved on to a private firm. I looked at two things with the 3 valve 5.4L. First if you follow the path of the oiling circuit the VCT solenoids and cam phasers through them are the last parts to get oil in the circuit. That would mean that the oil will be at its highest temp, thus thinner, at this point. This is why some of the people who run thicker oil have the ticking issue become quieter. In my opinion 5W20 is a little on the thin side as oil goes. Also the revised VCT solenoids have a larger drain hole in them. This helps the oil flow through the circuit faster letting cooler oil reach the phasers. In all of the testing I had done on engines with VCT systems I have never actually seen a phaser itself go bad. The only part I have ever seen go bad is the VCT solenoid. Having seen the inside of several different engines, domestic and foreign, I can say the phasers themselves are essentially the same. Also if the phaser would become stuck or locked in a position and become not able to move the PCM would trip a code for cam to crank correlation.
I can also agree with the sludge build up being a major factor in all this, the passages in the VCT solenoid as well as the phaser itself are not extremely large and could become easily blocked by any foreign substances.
Couldn't agree more. The 5.4 is a crappy motor and delivers crappy power for such a heavy truck (300hp/365tq at 7,200lbs) and with the cam phaser problems and spark plug problems, reliability is questionable. The 5.3 flex fuel LS based engine is definitely a superior engine.
i couldn't disagree more i have an 05 5.4 and my co worker has an 08 5.3, the 5.4 blows the 5.3 away, HP, TQ, FE, and his interior blows, he can grab his back wheel and shake the truck and you can hear his rear rattling inside, was up at the local truck stop the other day and guys pulls in with his newer 5.3 and you could here the piston slapping, now word on the street is the 5.3 is a good motor and know a lot of people who have them but to sit here and say the 5.4 is a crappy motor i just cannot agree with that, know a lot of people with the 5.4 and are a reliable engine
Well I could not disagree more. I personally have put 209K and 204K on my last two 5.3L motors, and my son has had two 5.3 (current with 128K and his old truck with 190K) as well. My quick math = nearly 3/4 million miles. Other than exhaust manifold gaskets (pretty common at 75K or so) the 5.3 has been rock solid. We have not replaced any diffs, trannies, or rebuild any motors.
This is my first Ford. I am taking a real leap of faith leaving such a solid platform for this F150, but I simply could not pass this truck up. I really love the solid interior, heavy...solid feel while driving...lack of ratlles....etc... I just hope that I can get the same level of service out of this 5.4.
I don't know about the maintenance part, I'm at 123,000 and have changed my oil at 3,500mi without fail and used motorcraft filters Everytime. My oil is still clear and my phasers are knocking. I might switch out the solenoids and see what happens.
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I have to believe that it is a design problem more than anything else. I currently have 140,000 on my '08 5.4 and it has had Mobil 1 in it for the last 100,000 miles. Many Hwy miles, cruising with the crusie control on. Oil and filter changed every 5,000- 6,000 miles. Either Motorcraft or Purolator filters. Drain oil looks good. This motor does not know what sludge is, but I still have the "Tick"! It was in the dealership for the wiring recall and the Tech said that he thought the tick was a loose spark plug! Not unless it is hitting the top of the piston!! I changed the spark plug my self and went back in a double checked and retorqued them. Nothng! It sound like a cam follower has backed off. My next journey!!
Oh by the way, friend of mine has '05 4 X 4 with 5.4, just like mine it started ticking at 100,000 miles, it now has 280,000 on. Both run great, just "TICKS".